Playgroups, community classes and fetes will continue to be held in an historic north Norfolk building, thanks to the National Trust.

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The Rural Community Association at Blickling, near Aylsham, has had to give up its lease on the Old School building in the village because it did not have enough people to fundraise for important renovation work and could not attract new volunteers.

But the National Trust, which owns the Old School and neighbouring Blickling Hall, has said it would keep the building open for the community, alongside its own uses. The building needs a new heating system, costing up to £30,000, which the trust plans to install once funding is in place.

Helen Bailey, property manager at Blickling Hall, said: “The Old School has been an important part of the local community for many years, well used by a variety of groups, and the National Trust wants it to remain so.”

Susan Price, association chairman, said the building had been used by the community for 30 years and it had been a wrench to give up the lease but it was heartening to see the trust’s support for the life of the community of the Blickling estate continuing.

The Old School was built by Lady Constance Lothian in 1867 and given to the community, along with another in Erpingham which is still in use as a primary school.

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